Amid the ongoing squabble over the origin of the coronavirus outbreak, China is pushing the theory that the United States, not China, should be probed for the mysterious origins of the epidemic.
The theory put forth by China's top epidemiologist and promoted by CCP mouthpiece the Global Times, comes amid renewed effort by the West to bring China to account for the outbreak after a WHO report earlier this year nearly absolved Beijing of any responsibility.
'US Possesses many Biological Laboratories'
The Chinese epidemiologist, Zeng Guang, says that the US must be the priority in the 'next phase of investigations' as studies showed that cases of COVID-19 were there in the country at least a month before they were officially reported in January 2020.
The epidemiologist says that US possesses many biological laboratories all around the world, in a bold pushback against the theory that the coronavirus may have escaped the Wuhan virology institute in China before it wreaked havoc around the world. "All bio-weapons related subjects that the country has should be subject to scrutiny," Zeng said, the Global Times reported.
In March, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its report that COVID-19 most likely originated in the country's wildlife trade and that the virus may have passed on to humans from there.
'Virus Came Via Contaminated Frozen Food'
However, China had earlier promoted the theory that COVID-19 came into the country from overseas via contaminated frozen food.
Now, epidemiologist Zeng Guang says that the COVID-19 outbreak at least had "multiple origins". He says countries like the US and France must be investigated to find the origins of the coronavirus.
The Chinese effort to divert the focus of the investigation to the West is propelled by the fact that cases of coronavirus were present in the US, France, Italy and other countries months before they were officially reported.
"A study of more than 24,000 samples taken for a National Institutes of Health (NIH) research program in the US between January 2 and March 18, 2020 suggested that seven people in five states - Illinois, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin - may have been infected well before the country's first confirmed cases that were reported in January 21, 2020," the Global Times reported.
A recent US CDC report found #COVID19 antibodies in blood samples as early as Dec 13, 2019. With more & more evidence surfacing about the coronavirus' origins in places outside China before Wuhan detected it, the world is remapping the history of the #COVID19 pandemic. Infographic:GT
More scientific evidence in countries such as the US and France has emerged to suggest that those countries may have had COVID-19 cases way before they officially confirmed.
A US government study suggested that the coronavirus may have already been circulating among people one month earlier than it was officially confirmed, and French scientists also presented scientific evidence that the country's cases were caused by an indigenous virus strain prevailing before 2020.
Chinese scientists urged that such evidence should not go unnoticed, and should serve as evidence that the next-stage virus-tracing investigations should be focused on countries which reported cases earlier than they previously identified, especially the US.
A study of more than 24,000 samples taken for a National Institutes of Health (NIH) research program in the US between January 2 and March 18, 2020 suggested that seven people in five states - Illinois, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin - may have been infected well before the country's first confirmed cases that were reported in January 21, 2020.
The results suggest that the virus may have been circulating in Illinois, for example, as early as in December 24, 2019, one month earlier than the US authorities confirmed.
The data suggests the virus was in the five states far away from the initial hot spots and areas that were considered its points of entry into the country, the study said.